KuK Cavalry - Colourful into the war

Austrian Officer around 1860 in the traditional white uniform
Austrian officer around 1860 in the traditional white uniform

 

As a result of observations during the Russo-Japanese war and other conflicts in around the year 1900, developed the Austro-Hungarian Army a new standard colour for the army – a light grey-blue so called Hechtgrau. The colour war present at the light infantry regiments called Jäger and parts of the Landwehr.

 

The Austrian Army wore traditionally white uniforms at least since the beginning of the 18th century, changed this after the lost wars in 1866 to a new colour pattern with light and dark blue dyed uniforms.

 

 

 

The Austro-Hungarian Army introduced the new Hechtgrau-uniforms finally in 1908 for everyone except the cavalry, since it was argued that there is no need for a cavalry attack to hide the soldiers.

 

 

The Cavalry of the Austro-Hungarian Army consisted of Dragoon, Husar and Ulan Regiments, those were more or less equally treated in terms of strategies and military power, only dressed differently to pay tribute to traditional and national aspects of the empire.

coloured photograph of a KuK Jäger in the hechtgrau Uniform
Coloured photograph of a Corporal of a KuK (Tyrol) Jäger Regiment in the hechtgrau Uniform

Coloured photo of a Austro-Hungarian Husar from the Hungarian parts of the empire with his blue Uniform, red trousers and golden cords
Coloured photo of a Austro-Hungarian Husar from the Hungarian parts of the empire with his blue Uniform, red trousers and golden cords

 

 

 

 

Therefore, as the troops went to war in 1914, the cavalry regiments not only saw themselves not on horseback but instead sitting in the tranches, their expensive and colourful uniforms with red trousers and golden helmet or tschakos.

 

They had to face the situation and adopted their appearance. 

 

 

The most common example is the grey painted dragoon helmet. There are even helmets with extra steel plates or a second helmet-body underneath known and show how desperate a former noble office now hiding in the dirty as a mechanized war expands above their heads inbetween the tranches.

A group of Austro-Hugarian Dragoon officers with different forms of grey dragoon helmets
A group of Austro-Hugarian Dragoon officers with different forms of grey dragoon helmets in 1914
Regular Austro-Hungarian Dragoon officers helmet
Regular Austro-Hungarian Dragoon officers helmet
Grey painted and with a steel plate added Dragoon helmet
Grey painted and with a steel plate added Dragoon helmet